Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Proofreading by Ear: Do You Hear What I Hear??

By Darren Kehrer

Have you ever written something and then gone back to read it only to catch missing words, words you misspelled (the misspelled word was still correctly spelled but not flagged for meaning,) or even words you omitted all together?

In all of these situations, it's amazing when you go back and re-read how your eyes automatically fill in the gaps or fix mistakes without notifying your brain of the actual goof. Well, I've found a nice little trick in MS Word that also works in Outlook as well: Read Aloud

In Microsoft Office Word or Outlook, there is an option to "Read Aloud" the words on the screen. This works on both Mac or PC versions.

  • Microsoft Word/Outlook
    • Review
    • Read Aloud
    • Control Bar
      • There are options to change both reading speed and voices.

This feature is absolutely amazing in highlighting potential errors as the software reads what you wrote back to you.  Yes, it's not perfect. But when you hear "chose" instead of "choose" or "you" instead of "your" the value of this feature really starts to pay off. The Mac version seems to have a few more default options, but I believe you can download more "voices" from Microsoft as well.


Pro TIP: When the voice is "reading" to you, make sure you stop it before making changes. Otherwise, it starts changing from that point. I've noticed un-wanted changes in the wrong places if you do not do that first.


  1. This is an interesting function. I was amazed by something--when I let MS Word read aloud a report I had translated to English from a Russian-speaking pastor, it automatically chose a speaker with a Russian accent! Smart device!

  2. I can't believe how useful this has been